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Can Dakota Kai Replace Bayley?

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The EST of NXT
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

This is a discussion that's come up on various venues such as wrestling podcasts, reddit, wrestling news sites, and my personal wrestling inner circle, so I thought I'd bring it to you, THE PEOPLE :rock1 of Wrestlingforum.com.

Dakota Kai is a very spunky, likeable underdog that made a pretty decent impression in the Mae Young Classic Tournament. She's bubbly, friendly, and youthful without acting like she's 12. Wrestling analysts and fans have christened her as "The Bayley Replacement" because of her ability to effortlessly portray a compelling babyface in light of Bayley's destruction on the main roster. I see the similarities with the average girl look, vibrant colors, and friendly demeanor, but I wonder wherein lies her marketability. As cringeworthy as many of you believe Bayley's gimmick is, it sells t-shirts.

So that leaves us with a two part question:

1. Can Dakota Kai surpass Bayley as a babyface?
2. How do you go about marketing her?
 

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Give her victories and not shady finishes. And promos with few-worded main messages. It is simple but since WWE did not realize it with Bayley who is more marketable looks wise, there is not that much hope for Dakota left. My point is that don't get your hopes up...
 

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Baby Yoda
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First thing I thought when I saw her work - it's Bayley without the childish antics. It's not cute, you're a fucking adult... act like one...

Unlike Bayley, her gimmick will allow her to stick around long. Bayley became a bit too much after a few weeks, bu ttbf booking did her no favors.

It was a nice career for Bayley while it lasted.
 

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I don’t really care for the Bayley comparisons. Yes, they both have kind of similar look. They both are great babyfaces. They’re both great sellers. Point blank, they’re both great babyfaces. So is someone like Candice LeRae, who was also in the MYC.

They have very different in ring styles. And while Bayley is a character with child like exuberance, we don’t really know what Kai’s character is as of yet other than “she’s cute and spunky.”

Considering how stacked the division is and will probably continue to be, I’m not convinced that someone like Kai won’t get lost in the shuffle, even in NXT. So no, I don’t see her as the Bayley replacement. Are there similarities? Yes. But there are also differences.
 

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Ideally I'd love for her AND Bayley to co-exist and succeed but if there's going to be a replacement she pretty much checks all the necessary boxes. I'd have to hear an in ring promo first because that's pretty much where Bayley loses me. I enjoyed what I saw during the MYC though, looking forward to more.
 

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Baby Yoda
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It'll be a few years before we even get to this argument. Who even knows what kind of situation Bayley will be in then.
Eh, women wrestlers have a short shelf life. So she might be done by the time Evie is on the main roster.
 

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TEAM KICK!
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Yes. I wouldn't totally make her Bayley 2.0, that would lead to obvious complaints, and with the booking on the main roster, it would kill Dakota's momentum off in a heartbeat, but if you're looking for a similar kind of appeal, Dakota's the only other one who really stands out in that regard. Plus she has a few differences from Bayley, her style is different, and instead of being full on kiddie friendly, hugging everyone etc. She's more of a girl who, behind the bubbly persona, has a mentality of 'I'm gonna kick your head off'. So she could easily appeal to multiple demographics if they can let her showcase both sides. She's very naturally likeable and if she ends up being a decent talker, there's definitely potential there for another pure female babyface.

I don't think she'll ever become as popular as Bayley was in NXT, especially with Dusty gone and the women's division not being quite as strong as it was back then (It's getting better but i digress), the story wouldn't be able to be replicated. But, she's definitely got the tools to be that lovable sort of babyface.
 

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Not to thread jack, but Bayley isn't "dead in the water."

Take her off TV for 1-1.5 years and rebuild her, then let her return after a big PPV.

P.S., I haven't seen this woman in action yet, but she gives me "Bayley" vibes.
 

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The EST of NXT
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I sentence you to death for even implying such blasphemy. How dare you good sir.
The poll doesn't lie, my guy :toomanykobes

With the booking of Bayley and her terrible promos, it's a strong possibility if Dakota is handled properly. Big if though. Right now, all Bayley has on her is the marketability.

Yes. I wouldn't totally make her Bayley 2.0, that would lead to obvious complaints, and with the booking on the main roster, it would kill Dakota's momentum off in a heartbeat, but if you're looking for a similar kind of appeal, Dakota's the only other one who really stands out in that regard. Plus she has a few differences from Bayley, her style is different, and instead of being full on kiddie friendly, hugging everyone etc. She's more of a girl who, behind the bubbly persona, has a mentality of 'I'm gonna kick your head off'. So she could easily appeal to multiple demographics if they can let her showcase both sides. She's very naturally likeable and if she ends up being a decent talker, there's definitely potential there for another pure female babyface.

I don't think she'll ever become as popular as Bayley was in NXT, especially with Dusty gone and the women's division not being quite as strong as it was back then (It's getting better but i digress), the story wouldn't be able to be replicated. But, she's definitely got the tools to be that lovable sort of babyface.
Yes Craig, I agree. Dakota has the killer instinct that Bayley lacks. They showed glimpses in NXT, then did away with it and went back to the 10 year old grown ass woman gimmick. If Dakota can cut a promo about anything other than being an overgrown fangirl, she should be ok. I see that she's half Irish, half Samoan. Do you happen to know if she has a thick accent?
 

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I actually think Candice would be a good "replacement" for Bayley, so I've got to see more of Dakota.
 

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I like Bayley, but no. I want Dakota to have her own character and not be a 'replacement Bayley' or 'Bayley 2.0' tbh.

Do you happen to know if she has a thick accent?
She has a typical Kiwi accent (it sounds like a lot like mine actually :D). Kiwis tend to talk fast, but she knows she needs to slow down her talking.
 

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TEAM KICK!
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The poll doesn't lie, my guy :toomanykobes

With the booking of Bayley and her terrible promos, it's a strong possibility if Dakota is handled properly. Big if though. Right now, all Bayley has on her is the marketability.



Yes Craig, I agree. Dakota has the killer instinct that Bayley lacks. They showed glimpses in NXT, then did away with it and went back to the 10 year old grown ass woman gimmick. If Dakota can cut a promo about anything other than being an overgrown fangirl, she should be ok. I see that she's half Irish, half Samoan. Do you happen to know if she has a thick accent?
Her accent is probably roughly as, if not less, thick as someone like Emma's or Billie/Peyton's from what i've heard (It's very much a New Zealand accent, but i'm comparing it to the Aussies because it's quite similar). It's not massively overbearing. If you want to hear it, you can go back and watch her brief vignettes from the MYC, or there's these videos.. You probably wouldn't be able to tell that she's part Irish at all from her speaking voice.




Note that from that first video you can tell that she's also a gamer, which is probably another plus in a lot of people's books.
 
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